Houston, TX: Do the Food Truck Crawl

Food Truck Friday at the Boneyard - Photo by John Suh

By Christine Ha | Houston Press

Food Truck Friday at the Boneyard - Photo by John Suh

It sounds like the name of a new dance craze. And while you can certainly show off your skills to the music spinning from the live DJ booth, the Food Truck Crawl is much more than that.

Hillary Hayden founded the event after watching a show on the Cooking Channel about restaurant crawls in New York City and deciding to do something similar here in Houston. While Houston is not a pedestrian-friendly town, she thought, “Why not utilize food trucks instead, allowing for more location flexibility?” If you can’t bring the people to the food, bring the food to the people.

​Last Friday was Houston Food Truck Crawl’s second event ever, held at Boneyard Drinkery, a dog park/human bar where dogs can socialize alongside their owners. The event featured five food trucks parked outside the bar, Jonny Black Productions spinning dance tunes over the loudspeakers, Recycle 4 U collecting the trash, and Lucky Dog offering adoption services. $30 got you samples from all five food trucks and either two Texas beers or one wine from the Boneyard.

In order to avoid the long lines and food drought that unfortunately cast a shadow on the recent Haute Wheels food truck festival, the Houston Food Truck Crawl caps ticket sales at roughly 150. There are also two entry wave times an hour apart, so that everyone doesn’t come at once and overwhelm the trucks. And instead of offering their entire menus, the trucks provide just a sampling, which significantly impacts wait time and ingredient availability, since the trucks know ahead of time how much of which dish to prepare.

The Modular served up a rendition of their poke tacos using deep-fried shells instead of their usual rice cakes. Hit N Run cooked sliders: a patty topped with cream cheese, bacon, tomato, and jalapeño wedged inside a fluffy sweet Hawaiian roll–easily the highlight of the evening. Zilla Street Eats actually offered a variety: chicken ‘n waffles, mac ‘n cheese, or fries. Unfortunately, the choice quantity must’ve affected the quality, because their food was subpar, an anomaly for the usually creative and delicious Zilla: the Cheeto crumbles on the mac ‘n cheese were stale, the fries soggy and bland.

After the savory foods, Juice Girl had appleade, and Grill Marks served up tiny scoops of gelato. The chili chocolate gelato was more peppery than chocolatey, and the gelato looked like it had a bad case of freezer burn, but I guess that’s what I get for waiting until late in the evening to grab dessert.

The bar was packed with both people who came for the Food Truck Crawl and those who just came for a typical Friday night out with their dogs. It was difficult to flag down the bartender, and the A/C was not running as efficiently as it should’ve been, making every sip of my cold brew that much more important.

A portion of the proceeds goes to Noah’s Kitchen, a non-profit that provides the less fortunate with food, clothing, and other resources for employment and eventual independence.

Together with partner Lauren Valinoti, Hillary Hayden holds the Houston Food Truck Crawl as a monthly event; planning for the next one is already well underway. On August 12, Hughes Hangar will hold the Iron Chef Food Truck Challenge, where four food trucks will cook with one secret ingredient, creating a dish that’s not normally on their menu. Go here to purchase tickets to the Iron Chef Food Truck Challenge. Pacifist? Competition not your thing? The regular Food Truck Crawl will return in September. Check out their Facebook page for future details.

Did you attend the Food Truck Crawl at Boneyard? Tell me your thoughts.